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RV Electric in Plain English

By Jenn

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Just nod and smile

Converters. Inverters. 12v. AC. DC. 110v. Parasitic drain. Shore power. Fuses.

Feeling a little lost you pretend you didn’t see the words or that you don’t need to know what they mean.

It’s the one thing that can make you feel like you are in over your head with your new RV faster than anything else: RV electric.

A fair majority of new RV owners have never had the occasion to understand how the electric components in their new RV work together to make the magic that power the lights, entertainment system, air conditioning, water pump, furnace, fan, and microwave.

But at some point, you will have to understand a little and this video is designed to help you begin to understand the basics.


What things in my RV does my battery power?

It will vary from RV to RV, but in a T@b 320, you can run the lights, fan, water pump, TV, LP detector, Jensen stereo and stove will on batter power. Your Alde furnace and hot water heater are powered primarily by propane but require a little battery.

I hear a chirping sound. What is it?

There is a good chance that your battery voltage is too low to power your LP detector. Check your battery voltage, first. If it is less 12.0v, charging your battery will solve the issue. If the issue is not resolved by charging the battery, you might need to just air out the “new T@b smell.”

Can I run the AC off of battery power?

The short answer is, “no”, but you can read more about that and other issues related to off-grid power, here.

Can I charge the battery in my RV from my house?

Yes, you can.

Use a 15A male to 30A female dogbone connector and connect to either an outlet or an extension cord.

If you are using an extension cord, make sure it is a heavy duty extension cord.

A word of caution: Many people do not realize that an outlet is not wired properly until it is too late. Even at home, I have been glad that I had a Progressive EMS hardwired in both my 2015 T@b and Mattie Ross. Poor wiring or variants in voltage are not limited to campgrounds. I have come across incorrect wiring at the homes of friends and family and the Progressive EMS always protected me. You can learn more about how an EMS can protect you, he

Secondly, you might be limited as to what you can run, depending on what else is on that circuit. It is recommended to run the Alde on a just 1kW. Also, watch the use of a microwave and air conditioner. I found the air conditioner tripped the breaker at my brother’s house, probably due to the other things that were running off of that circuit.

Alde 1 kW Settings

Can I get a 30-amp outlet installed on my house?

Yes, you can!

A licensed electrician can do the work, but even electricians make mistakes. Make sure they understand that is not a 220v 30-amp outlet, like you often see with clothes dryers.

The outlet you want is a 30-amp, 125v outlet, like this one.

Can I just charge my battery from my tow vehicle?

Sure, but if you battery is fairly depleted, it might take a few hours.

DC – DC chargers have become popular to accelerate the charging of batteries, especially since lithium batteries can charge much quicker.

Just Getting Started

Don’t worry if you feel a little overwhelmed. You’re just getting started.

Come back and read this page after you have starting using your rV and it will begin to make more sense.

What other RV electric questions do you have? Let me know in the comments.